“I consider the Voice Dialogue process to be one of the most powerful tools for personal growth that I’ve ever discovered.”Shakti Gawain
Do you sometimes wish you could respond differently to your partner or children, or to a friend or colleague? Or have them respond differently to you? Maybe you’d like to feel more connected? Or you’d like to set better boundaries?
Have you ever tried to change your thoughts or beliefs or set new intentions but ended up falling back into old patterns? And then felt self-critical or frustrated?
What will help is gaining awareness of how your inner selves are affecting your reactions, feelings and behaviours, and developing the ability to have more choice.
“We consider Astra Niedra to be an outstanding teacher, trainer and facilitator of the Voice Dialogue process …”Hal Stone PhD and Sidra Stone PhD, Founders of Voice Dialogue
What is Voice Dialogue?
Voice Dialogue is a method for becoming more conscious.
It involves dialoging with the various parts of your psyche – your selves, also known as inner selves or energy patterns, and include archetypes.
Voice Dialogue’s creators, Dr Hal Stone and Dr Sidra Stone, first developed the Psychology of Selves in the early 1970s. Their work is known fully as Voice Dialogue, Relationship and the Psychology of Selves (or alternatively as the Psychology of the Aware Ego).
Voice Dialogue includes working with the energetic nature of selves and learning to use energy more consciously. For instance, in how we connect with other people on an energetic level – warmly, coolly, intensely, mentally, sexually, and so on.
It also involves learning how our selves bond with the selves in other people, in predictable patterns. This work is a game changer in understanding and improving relationships.
When you do Voice Dialogue, you experience an instant shift in consciousness.
You change from being over-identified with your primary self (and its particular way of being in the world) to being able to access and embrace other parts of your personality (along with their perspectives, feelings and energy).
This process of expanding awareness and embracing of opposites connects you to who you essentially are, and gives you the ability to live more fully and richly and with more freedom and choice.
Which Selves do You Recognise in You?
You know how the petals of a rose are hidden before it blooms? With only a few visible on the outside? You, too, have only a few selves visible on the surface, with many more hidden underneath, all protecting your core.
That part of yourself you feel is you, that holds your rules, values and much of your personal history, is your primary self. This primary self developed in your childhood to protect you and enable your survival. It is who you have come to identify as. (You might call it your ego or your personality.)
This primary self does an amazing job (you’re alive!) but it is limited by its nature. By its perceptions, abilities, energy type, rules and values. And so therefore you’re limited by its nature.
For instance, you might have developed a highly Responsible primary self, because that’s what worked for you in your family system. Maybe one or both of your parents were irresponsible. Or you were expected to be responsible and any opposite behaviour was frowned upon or even punished. So now as an adult you are likely someone who others depend on. But you probably also find it difficult to let go, be spontaneous and have fun.
Or if you developed a strong Rational Mind as a primary self, then you may find it challenging to express and understand feelings (your own and other people’s), or to feel at all.
Or if you became a Pleaser, then you probably find it impossible to feel entitled to take for yourself and have your own needs met.
Some selves you accept and include in the package that’s ‘you’, while others are relegated to your shadow where you judge them or have little or no awareness of them. Those are your disowned selves.
Usually different selves emerge at different times.
So your Achiever or Perfectionist may be who you are at work. But your Nurturing Parent may be who emerges with your children.
In your relationship you may sometimes be your Playful Self or Sensual Self, but at other times your Critical Father/Mother or Needy Child Self takes over.
It could be that you are always operating from one self or a group of selves that work together, such as the Responsible Self or the Pleaser, and you struggle to express other parts of yourself.
How your selves are ‘configured’ in you will determine how you think, feel and act.
Each self holds particular memories and has a narrative about your life, based on its experience of it. Each self has preferences for how you live your life. Each self also has anxieties and concerns.
So when you make decisions in your life and relationships, what you decide depends on who in you is involved.
This has massive implications for how your life and relationships play out.
If you’d like to have more choice in how you experience life, then becoming aware of and integrating your selves is key.
Start my downloading my FREE ebook Which Inner Self is Running Your Life? for an example of how you can use Voice Dialogue to help you in an everyday situation.
It also gives you an overview of 20 selves, and a simple exercise to discover your own primary and disowned selves.
My ebook The Greatest Relationship Secret gives you detailed examples of how your choices are determined by your selves.
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